European society is polyethnic and multicultural. This means that the history of Jewish towns, communities, as well as Holocaust are not only relevant for Jewish history, but also an integral part of the history of Europe, including ESJF’s project countries. We believe that understanding the impact of Jewish communities on the life of towns and regions will help young people form nuanced attitudes to cultural heritage, which, in the long run, helps promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue in a multicultural and diverse Europe.
In ESJF’s educational outreach, secondary school students are encouraged to preserve and maintain the historical memory of local Jewish communities, including cemetery sites. Focusing on local spaces makes clear not only the close connection between Jewish life and the communities in which students live today, but also serves to de-mystify cemetery sites. Particularly in areas in which, following the Holocaust, Jewish communities no longer exist, the cemetery may be the last physical witness of Jewish presence. It is therefore of utmost importance that young people learn about this material heritage and can place it into its larger historical and socio-cultural context.
ESJF works with local multipliers and educators to reach young people. It is our aim to reach out to Jewish and non-Jewish organisations already active in various regions of Europe to build on existing expertise and networks, thereby also sharing and optimizing pedagogical approaches. Working with national and regional Jewish communities whenever possible, our goal is to educate the next generation to protect and preserve local Jewish heritage.
Currently, we are carrying out educational projects in selected secondary schools in:
The different situations in these countries necessitate a variety of educational approaches and different forms of organisational cooperation. For example, Greece, we are working with Centropa to conduct a teacher’s training seminar for 30 educators, to be held in Thessaloniki in December 2019.
ESJF also reaches out to select universities in Ukraine to share our expertise in cultural heritage preservation with students of architecture, engineering and history.
Please see regular updates on our educational projects below.
ESJF’s educational projects in Slovakia are wrapping up. The projects, carried out with secondary school students in seven eastern Slovakian schools, have piloted ESJF’s educational activity in the country, serving as the basis for future heritage education. They reached almost 200 students from different schools across the country.
ESJF has begun its educational outreach to schools in Slovakia. On October 7th, 2019, the head of the Holocaust Documentation Center in Bratislava, Dr. Jan Hlavinka, led students of two schools in the eastern Slovakian town of Humenné on an excursion to the local Jewish cemetery.